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Showing posts from November, 2017

Neurotoxin found in some Lake Winnipeg algae

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CBC news UBC researchers found BMAA toxin in high concentrations in 25% of algal blooms tested in Manitoba lake. Story here. Lake Winnipeg. Greenpeace photo. A FOOTNOTE: In the interests of fairness and accuracy, it should be pointed out that it was Eva Pip, a long-time water expert at the University of Winnipeg, and a colleague who are on the record as first confirming BMAA in Lake Winnipeg, NOT the BC research team referenced in the CBC story.   PinP Find Prof. Pip's research here.

Global response to malaria at crossroads - WHO report shows gains are levelling off

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World Health Organization After unprecedented global success in malaria control, progress has stalled, according to the  World malaria report 2017.   There were an estimated 5 million more malaria cases in 2016 than in 2015. Malaria deaths stood at around  445 000, a similar number to the previous year. A female malaria mosquito ( Anopheles albimanus),   feeding on a human host.  Photo Credit: James Gathany, Centers for Disease Control “In recent years, we have made major gains in the fight against malaria,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “We are now at a turning point. Without urgent action, we risk going backwards, and missing the global malaria targets for 2020 and beyond.” The WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria [ii]  calls for reductions of at least 40% in malaria case incidence and mortality rates by the year 2020. According to WHO’s latest malaria report, the world is not on track to reach these critical milestones. A major pro

Proposed fossil fuel development threatens yet another caribou herd - by Larry Powell.

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Antlers of the barren ground caribou can be a meter tall.  The majestic animals have traditionally provided food for subsistence hunters .  A Wikimedia Commons photo.   According to the magazine Science, US politicians may be about to put the continent’s biggest and healthiest caribou herd at risk. That’s because a US Senate committee has just voted to allow drilling for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The coastal plain region of the sprawling refuge happens to be the calving grounds for the Porcupine caribou herd. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Photo credit -  US Fish & Wildlife Service. Republicans supporting drilling say its footprint will be small. Environmental groups disagree, saying roads and pipelines will dissect the animals' habitat.  A Canadian wildlife ecologist quoted in the story, Chris Johnson of the University of Northern BC (Prince George), says the consensus that industrial activity disturbs the animals is

Yet another of Earth's creatures faces extinction. - by Larry Powell

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It’s not looking good for the vaquita.   Photo: C. Faesi / Proyecto Vaquita 1992. The vaquita are porpoises which measure only about 1.5 meters, fully grown. They’re among the smallest of the cetaceans, an order of marine mammals which includes porpoises, dolphins and whales. Their numbers have now dwindled to fewer than 30 in Mexico’s Gulf of California, where they live.   The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports vaquita numbers have declined an astonishing 92% since 1997.  Gill net   fishing is the main culprit. The vaquita have become “collateral damage” as poachers target a fish whose swim bladder fetches $20 thousand dollars per kilogram for use in Chinese medicine. Mexico has imposed a permanent ban on the taking of vaquita. But authorities have been unable to enforce the law sufficiently to make a difference. Now, the magazine, Science is reporting, an eleventh-hour bid by a team of conservationists, to bring them back from the brink,

Nebraska approves alternative route for TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline

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NATIONAL OBSERVER PinP photo. Nebraska regulators approved passage of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline Monday, clearing the last major regulatory hurdle for the controversial $10-billion project but creating a new wrinkle by choosing an alternative route for the pipeline. STORY HERE.

Controversial glyphosate weedkiller wins new five-year lease in Europe

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the guardian EU votes to reauthorise the pesticide, ending a bitterly fought battle that saw 1.3 million people sign a petition calling for a ban. STORY HERE. A Wikimedia Commons photo. RELATED:  Field of Nightmares  -  Ottawa continues to embrace the widespread use of Roundup on Canadian farms by letting corporate seduction trump scientific evidence.

Climate change could increase volcano eruptions

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ScienceDaily Shrinking glacier cover could lead to increased volcanic activity in Iceland, warn scientists in a new report. Story here. The Mayon volcano, Philippines.1984. Photo by  C.G. Newhall

Worldwide increase in methane bubbles due to climate change

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Science Daily Due to climate change, more and more methane is bubbling up from lakes, ponds, rivers and wetlands throughout the world. The release of methane -- a potent greenhouse gas -- leads to a further increase in temperature, thus creating a positive feedback loop (also known as a 'vicious circle'). Story here. Methane bubbles from the La Brea Tar Pits - Los Angeles.  Photo credit -  KimonBerlin

In Hogs We Trust. Part 11

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The Price We Pay For A$$embly-line Pork by Larry Powell Here is an important update to this story. The dollar cost to Manitobans of a deadly hog disease is being revealed. Yet key details regarding its magnitude remain secret. A Planet in Peril (PinP) exclusive.  Taxpayers in Manitoba had better get ready to dig deeper. Our provincial government has just relaxed the rules so the hog industry can expand. And, given past history, more corporate welfare will, surely, soon be flowing again into the trough for producers.   I’ve compiled a probably-incomplete history of largesse which has already been bestowed upon factory barn operators in just the past ten years.   I think you’ll agree, the numbers are impressive.   I'll begin with HyLife Foods.   It’s located on the outskirts of the small, central Manitoba town of Neepawa, where I used to live.  HyLife describes itself as “the largest pork processing company in Canada.” (“Pork processing” is actual

Keystone XL Gushes Half-a-Million Litres of Oil - 'Because 'Pipelines Are Bound to Spill'

CommonDreams 'With their horrible safety record, today's spill is just the latest tragedy caused by the irresponsible oil company TransCanada.' Story here.

Global Carbon Pollution Reaches Highest Levels Yet, New Report Shows

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World Resources Institute The   Global Carbon Project   and the University of East Anglia brought unwanted news this week: 2017 saw the highest levels of carbon pollution on record.   Story here. The Koch fertilizer plant in Brandon, MB. PinP photo.

Canada releases report on the progress of caribou recovery-strategy - overall prognosis? Not good!

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CISION In the boreal forest, the environment and the economy are linked: all stakeholders have a part in protecting it. Our government is committed to conserving wildlife habitat and protecting species at risk in this vast swath of Canadian forest. Story here. Photo credit - Jon Nickles  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

"In Hogs We Trust." Part 1

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Could the Manitoba government’s return to a deregulated hog industry actually contribute to a world health crisis? by  Larry Powell   The Pallister government has just passed its  “Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act.”  The bill makes it easier (and cheaper) for pig producers to build new factory barns, expand existing ones, store and dispose of the waste and to even spend less on fire protection.  According to the industry group, “Manitoba Pork,”  as many as 100 new factory barns  may now be built over the next ten years. A CanStock Photo image. What the Bill  will not do  is stop the dangerous overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture. Livestock owners around the world (including Manitoba’s hog producers) have long been giving these medicines to their animals, whether to treat the sick, prevent the healthy from  getting  sick, or simply to fatten them up for market. This is all perfectly legal here and in many other countries.

Rights of Nature Emerges as Strong Alternative to Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Framework

Indigenous Environmental Network Click here to Read and Download Report BONN, Germany – After one week of the climate conference, it is clear that many believe the general climate framework will not resolve chaotic climate conditions. Story here.

More than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries issue 'warning to humanity'

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CBC news A similar warning was first issued by scientists in 1992. Story here. Aftermath of Hurricane Maria - 2017. Photo by  Filo gèn'

Door opens to hog expansion in the Canadian province of Manitoba

Manitoba Co-operator Anaerobic digesters out, new barns in. Story here. RELATED:   More alarm bells sound over drug usage in the world’s intensive livestock operations.

Thousands of pigs die as southern Manitoba hog barn goes up in flames

CBC news Fire commissioner's office investigating the cause of the blaze. Story here.

Climate Change Health Impacts Demand Urgent Action

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Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment  “The human symptoms of climate change are unequivocal and potentially irreversible – affecting the health of populations around the world, today. Whilst these effects will disproportionately impact the most vulnerable in society, every community will be affected.” Details here. Wildfires in Portugal.  Wikimedia Commons.